New College Football Playoff System: Notre Dame Unable to Secure Top 4 Seed in Upcoming Season Even if Ranked #1

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The upcoming season of college football is set to witness a major overhaul in the playoff system. A significant shift in the College Football Playoff (CFP) format has been unanimously approved by the board of managers, moving from a four-team to a 12-team structure. This change not only increases the number of participating teams but also alters the qualifying criteria, affecting teams like Notre Dame significantly.

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Impact of New Qualifying Criteria

Under the revised 12-team CFP, the playoff will include the five highest-rated conference champions along with seven at-large selections. This adjustment, known as the “5-7 model,” is a deviation from the initial plan, which included the six highest-rated conference champions and six at-large teams.

This change reflects the ongoing evolution in conference structures and the recent diminution of the Pac-12, effectively leaving only four power conferences.

For Notre Dame, an independent college football team with no conference affiliation, these changes present a unique hurdle. Despite potentially achieving a high national ranking, Notre Dame is now ineligible for a top 4 seed, which are reserved exclusively for conference champions.

This means that even if Notre Dame were ranked number one nationally, they would still miss out on the significant advantage of a first-round bye, altering their playoff path to the national championship.

Significance for College Football

This expansion, set to begin in the fall, marks a significant change in college football, aiming to create a more inclusive playoff system. The decision, driven by a desire to adapt to the evolving landscape of college sports and to potentially increase financial returns, promises to bring a new level of excitement and competitiveness to the postseason.

Notre Dame’s path to a national championship is now more challenging under these revised rules. Despite this, the team’s ability to compete at the highest level remains unchanged.

As the college football community anticipates this new era, all eyes will be on how teams like Notre Dame adapt and if it alters their stance on remaining independent.

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